Paraguay is not the most obvious option for second citizenship. You should, however, take a closer look at this country if you are looking for a second passport but are short of money or do not want to wait 10 years before you can file for residency like in many European countries. Here is what you need to know about getting Paraguayan citizenship and its most interesting features.
What Paraguayan Citizenship Can Give You
One of the advantages of Paraguayan citizenship is that citizens do not need a visa to enter about 140 countries, including the Schengen countries and the UK. In 2023, the Paraguayan passport reached 36th position in the annual passport rating conducted by Henley & Partners. The main factor influencing each country’s rating is the opportunity for citizens to move around the world freely.
Paraguay is located in the centre of South America. The country is a part of the Mercosur trading union founded by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This means that customs fees between those countries are lifted. Moreover, the taxation climate is very favourable here, which makes the country attractive not only as a source of a passport but also as a place to run an international business. There is no tax for offshore income: you just need to pay 10% of the profits made on the territory of Paraguay.
Residency through Investment
Paraguay does not have a citizenship-for-investments programme like some other countries, but you can get a permanent residency permit called SUACE. After three years in the country with this document, you can file for citizenship.
Keep the following in mind if you are planning to take this route:
- you need to found a company with authorised capital of at least $70,000;
- you need to maintain your investments for 10 years, otherwise, they may annul your citizenship;
- you can file a permanent residency application at the same time as your company registration application (the average review period is about 45 days).
The paperwork you need to get an investor’s visa in Paraguay:
- birth certificate;
- document certifying your marital status;
- police clearance certificate (you will need one from your permanent residency country and one from the Paraguayan police);
- certificate of a medical check-up conducted in Paraguay.
Naturalisation and Passport Acquisition
So, you’ve received a document allowing you to reside permanently in Paraguay. To apply for citizenship, you need to wait for three years. You can leave the country, but before applying for citizenship, you will need to prove that your interests lie in Paraguay. South American countries keep a keen eye on applicants and whether they use their residency status properly.
Apart from the residency term, an important point is to know the local language. To naturalise and receive Paraguayan citizenship, you will need to prove your knowledge of one of the two official state languages: Spanish and Guaraní. You will also have to learn the lyrics of the national anthem.
Note! Paraguayan legislation restricts the possibilities for dual citizenship. The country currently has a dual citizenship agreement only with Spain. In reality, authorities rarely insist on people relinquishing their other citizenships in favour of the Paraguayan one, but each case is reviewed individually.
How to Get a Residency in Paraguay without Starting Your Own Company
Until autumn 2022, you could get residency in Paraguay by making a bank deposit of $4,500. Unlike an investor’s visa, however, with this one, you had to reside in Paraguay permanently to be able to naturalise. That simple and cheap option is no longer available. There are still some options left, though.
You can get a temporary residency permit if you can prove that you are financially secure (savings or a steady income source). You will also need to prove your intent to reside in the country permanently and not just receive a card that allows you to travel around the world freely. The temporary residency permit is issued for two years. After that term, you can apply for permanent residency. After another three years in the country as a permanent resident, you can apply for citizenship.
How is this option different from the investor’s visa in Paraguay?
- You need to reside in the country;
- you need to live through a temporary residency term before you get a permanent residency permit;
- your route to citizenship takes two years longer than investors;
- you do not need to freeze $70,000 for 10 years.
What Is a Precarious Residence Card?
In autumn 2022, authorities introduced a new type of residence permit: a precarious residence card (Carnet de Residencia Precaria). You can get it once when you apply for a residency permit. It is valid for 90 days. You cannot extend it but your temporary residency application should be reviewed over that period.
Once you receive that precarious residence card, you should make maximum use of your time. This document allows you to:
- apply to register a business;
- receive a taxpayer’s number;
- apply to receive a bank account (but to get more favourable bank account options, it is better if you wait until you receive your temporary residency card).
In a Nutshell
You cannot get a Paraguayan passport in exchange for investments, but there is a relatively cheap and quick way to get an investor’s visa that allows you to reside in the country permanently. In three years, you can apply for citizenship. Over that time, you can learn the national anthem and Spanish that are necessary for receiving a passport.
Cover Photo: Lopez Palace. FF MM